LSU Will Be Shorthanded For Alabama Game - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

01/31/03

LSU Will Be Shorthanded For Alabama Game

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) _ LSU and Alabama have had flirtations with glory this season, with the Tigers beating No. 1 Arizona and the Crimson Tide spending two weeks atop the rankings.

Forget glory, now they just want a win.

The now 23rd-ranked Tide (12-5, 2-4 Southeastern Conference) has lost three straight games and four of five entering Saturday's matchup at Coleman Coliseum. The Tigers (12-6, 1-5) have struggled even worse, dropping four straight and bringing up the rear in the Western Division.

``I'm sure their backs are against the wall and they're ready to go,'' said Alabama coach Mark Gottfried, who could say the same of his team.

He's held tough early-morning practices this week and hasn't let his players talk to reporters. The tough measures were prompted by a lackluster loss to Kentucky that ended the Tide's 28-game home winning streak.

``Our team just needed to take a hard look at itself and I think get recommitted,'' Gottfried said. ``It doesn't guarantee you wins or losses and I don't expect it to.''

The Tide is still stinging from the 63-46 loss to the Wildcats, its lowest point total in 15 years.

Post stars Erwin Dudley (0-for-6) and Kenny Walker (0-for-7) couldn't manage a field goal between them, a first in Dudley's four years.

Alabama's doldrums have LSU coach John Brady concerned because ``they really are in need of a win.''

``We've really caught some teams at bad times for us this year,'' Brady said. ``We've played well (against Alabama) in the past, and I hope we will again on Saturday.''

Alabama is suffering a bout with off-court illness to accompany its shooting and scoring ailments. Forward Emmett Thomas and guard Terrance Meade have both suffered from flu-like symptoms this week and their status for the game is uncertain.

Gottfried said he likes the way his players have responded this week. He also doesn't count the Tide out in its bid to repeat as SEC West champion. A second straight overall title will be harder
to come by with the East's Florida and Kentucky both unbeaten in the league.

``Our goals are the same,'' Gottfried said. ``We've dug ourselves into a hole. It doesn't make it easy but we want to win the West like we would any year. We're not going to get away from
that. That's what we want to do.''

LSU will be shorthanded for the game. The league suspended starting forward Jamie Lloreda for one game on Friday for elbowing Florida's Brett Nelson.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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